Conjoined twins separated after risky surgery—now they’re thriving with 1 leg and 2 big smiles

This little duo in California are living a new life after having undergone separation surgery in December 2016. Both were left with one leg each, but it was expected that they’d be able to stand and walk with a crutch in a year’s time.

Eva and Erika Sandoval, 2-year-old twins who were previously conjoined, are apparently now thriving, more than a year after their high-risk surgery on Dec. 6, 2016.

Speaking of how the twins are doing, their mother, Aida, said to the Sacramento Bee: “Having them separate, it’s like the day-to-day for anybody with twins. It’s a wonderful feeling, just to be able to make sure two more little babies get to adulthood.”

The surgery done in 2016 was to separate their digestive system, a liver, a bladder, a uterus, a pelvis, and a third leg. Before the operation, Eva was bigger than Erika, and the doctors wondered if she was absorbing more nutrients. Now, Erika weighs 19 pounds 8 ounces (approx. 8.8 kg) while Eva weighs 20 pounds (approx. 9 kg).

After the surgery, both twins were scooting around with one leg and two arms. According to their doctors, at that time, they were expected to be walking with the aid of a crutch in a year.

The twins don’t talk about the period where they shared a body. Even Aida seems to have forgotten what it felt like. “I know they were at one time, but this is just our life now,” she said.

Seeing the twins adapting to their new lives, especially Erika, Aida said, “She’s her own person. Before it was just whatever her sister was doing. I love just watching them, learning their interests.”

Child psychiatrist Michelle Goldsmith, MD, at Packard Children’s, said that the girls are adjusting well to their separation. “Neither girl seems to have trouble adjusting. They’re both rolling with what’s going on very well,” she said.

After the operation, the twins each lacked some pelvic bones, and it was unclear whether they would be able to have prosthetic legs in the future. Regardless of whether they will receive prosthetics, Kelly Andrasik, an occupational therapist at Packard Children’s said, “Improving their functional mobility will be really important in getting them to continue adapting to their new bodies.”


Knowing that the twins could stand and walk in a year’s time, Aida said, “I’m definitely thankful that things turned out the way that they did. I know they’re here with a purpose, they’ve made it this far. And what the future holds for them is just enormous.”

Photo Credit: Facebook | Arturo’s Angels: Born as One Soon to Be Two.

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